Tags: George W. Bush | bush | second | term | Books | George W Bush

George W. Bush Says Dad Pondered Skipping 2nd Term

By    |   Sunday, 09 Nov 2014 07:27 AM

George H.W. Bush seriously considered not running for re-election in 1992 even though he loved his job, according to a new book written by former President George W. Bush.

A complimentary account of his dad's presidency and glimpse into his personal life, "41: A Portrait of my Father," is scheduled to hit shelves on Tuesday, when the two will make a rare joint appearance at the elder Bush's presidential library in College Station, Texas. The Associated Press purchased an advance copy.

The book, which Bush kept under wraps until last summer, examines his father's decision to launch the first war in Iraq in 1991, his early failures in politics and his stinging defeat to Bill Clinton in 1992. It also relates personal anecdotes, including how the elder Bush struggled with the death of his daughter, Robin, of leukemia, and how he attempted to set up his namesake in the 1960s with Trisha Nixon, former President Richard Nixon's daughter.

George H.W. Bush, now 90, pondered not running for a second term because he felt his role was creating undue scrutiny of his son, Neil Bush, who was facing a federal lawsuit, according to the book.

"It killed him to see Neil singled out because he was the President's son," Bush wrote.

The elder Bush also hesitated because he had developed an irregular heartbeat and was exhausted, Bush added.

Although other biographies have described the relationship between father and son as sometimes strained, Bush, 68, describes their "worst argument" as arising after he drove home drunk from a tennis match, a decision his father met with a disapproving silence.

The author does not delve deeply into his own turn in the White House but makes clear that he considered his father a key adviser. He also disputes the assertion that he went to war in Iraq because of the conflict during his father's presidency.

"I was not trying 'to finish what my father had begun,' as some have suggested," he wrote.

Bush also writes of the late 2012 medical scare in which it was feared his father was about to die, The Drudge Report writes.

The incident began in November with the elder Bush checking into a Houston hospital with a bad cough. By December it had turned to pneumonia, and members of the family made visits, thinking it was the end.

"My brother Neil sat for hours at his bedside reading aloud to him. Jeb, Marvin, and Doro visited with their families. Laura and I made another trip to the hospital in December. This time we brought Barbara and Jenna, who was five months pregnant. Before we went in, I told everyone not to cry. I did not want Dad to sense our despair. As we entered the room, he could barely open his eyes and his voice was weak.

"'Hi, George, how are you? And there's Laura. Hi, beautiful.' He lay back contently as Barbara and Jenna rubbed his head. Then he reached out and gently put his hand on Jenna's pregnant belly.

"'There's death,' he said, 'and there's new life.' We all left the room sobbing."

Bush said his father didn't give him much policy advice, knowing he had advisers for that, the author writes. But he did have an interest in relations with world leaders, so when the younger Bush asked him if he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Walker's Point, the family compound in Maine, his father was happy to do so.

"When Putin arrived on July 1, 2007, Dad met his plane at the airport in New Hampshire and accompanied him on the helicopter ride to Walker’s Point. Then he took both of us for a speedboat ride. Although initially startled by the idea of an eighty-three-year-old former President driving the boat at top speed, Putin loved the ride. (His interpreter looked like he was about to fly out the back of the boat.) The next morning, we had a long conversation about missile defenses, in which we found some common ground. We then went fishing. Fittingly, Putin was the only one who caught anything," Bush wrote.

The elder Bush was asked by President Richard Nixon to be chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1973, in the middle of the Watergate scandal. Bush accepted, and was initially a defender of Nixon, but that didn't last, Bush writes.

"The final straw came on August 5, 1974. The Supreme Court had ruled that the White House must turn over all the tapes to Leon Jaworski, the new Watergate special prosecutor and a friend of Dad’s from Houston.

The tapes revealed that Nixon had spoken to one of his aides about thwarting the FBI’s investigation into the Watergate break-in. That was proof that he knew about the cover-up and that he had lied to the country. The revelation shattered Dad’s trust in Nixon," Bush wrote.

The next day, Nixon held a meeting with his Cabinet and key political advisers.

"Dad attended the meeting and witnessed a surreal scene in which the President spent the meeting talking about the economy and other policy issues rather than confronting the only question that really mattered. Later that day, Dad gave Nixon’s Chief of Staff, Alexander Haig, a candid assessment. After speaking to some of his old friends in Congress, he had learned that the President would not have the votes to survive an impeachment proceeding."

The elder Bush chose not to condemn Nixon publicly, instead sending him a personal letter.

"'I now firmly feel that resignation is best for this country, best for this President,' he wrote. 'I believe this view is held by most Republican leaders across the country.' Writing with his characteristic sympathy, Dad continued, 'This letter is made much more difficult because of the gratitude I will always have for you. If you do leave office, history will properly record your achievements with a lasting respect.' The next day, President Nixon announced that he would resign."

The book also includes a portrait of the elder Bush created by his son as part of his collection of oil paintings of world leaders.

In the author's note, Bush says his account is not objective but rather "a love story — a personal portrait of the extraordinary man who I am blessed to call my dad."

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George H.W. Bush seriously considered not running for re-election in 1992 even though he loved his job, according to a new book written by former President George W. Bush.A complimentary account of his dad's presidency and glimpse into his personal life, 41: A Portrait of...
bush, second, term, Books, George W Bush
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2014-27-09
Sunday, 09 Nov 2014 07:27 AM
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